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Health Prog. 2005 Jul-Aug;86(4):39-43.

Seeing Community Benefit broadly. Everybody wins when hospitals collaborate with others to serve their communities.

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Health Research and Educational Trust, Chicago, USA.


Community benefit is an opportunity for hospitals and health systems to affirm their community-focused missions and to ensure implementation of those missions in their organizations. There are four key themes of community benefit: community health improvement, underserved populations and unmet needs, collaboration outside the hospital, and coordination and strategic management inside the hospital. Together, these constitute a broader perspective, one in which community benefit is of strategic value to both the community and the hospital, and serves as a departure point for some of the hospital's most fruitful contributions to health and well-being. The community benefit function can be organized and managed to achieve specific priorities with measurable objectives, just like any other hospital activity. There are innumerable examples of creative and successful models for community benefit programs that incorporate the principles of community health improvement, unmet needs, collaboration externally, and strategic management internally. These are models that hospital leaders should create and pursue, because they demonstrate the value of a broad view of community benefit that fully realizes the potential of hospitals' charitable purpose.

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